ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – Tampa Bay outfielder Alex Sanchez (search) was suspended 10 days for violating baseball's new steroids policy, the first player publicly identified under the major leagues' tougher rules.
The suspension begins Monday when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (search) opens its season against Toronto, the commissioner's office said Sunday.
Under the new policy that took effect last month, steroids and other performance-enhancing substances are the only drugs to draw a 10-day suspension. Baseball officials and the players' union agreed they would not disclose the exact substance for which a player tests positive.
Sanchez said he was surprised by the suspension, adding that he uses milkshakes and multivitamins to build his energy — and blaming the positive test on something he bought over the counter.
"I'm going to fight it, because I've never taken steroids or anything like that," said Sanchez, who was released by Detroit in mid-March and signed by the Devil Rays.
Sanchez, 28, who hit .322 with 19 stolen bases in 79 games for the Detroit Tigers (search) last season, said he was drug tested while he was with that team. He was to be the Devil Rays' center fielder on opening day.
Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said the team would have no comment on the suspension.
"It's surprising," manager Lou Piniella said. "That's all I have to say on that."